D.A. Mishani’s Three, translated to English by Jessica Cohen, is a visceral crime thriller. Set in Israel, though spanning other countries such as Romania and Poland, three women, unrelated but soon connected in a way they’ll never know, will all meet the same man: Gil Hamtzani, an immigration lawyer. Orna, a divorced single mother, Emilia, a religious caretaker from Latvia, and Ella, a student and mother feeling trapped in her marriage, will all come across Gil, for better or worse.
Mishani weaves these women’s stories together impressively and succinctly. They never meet, they never speak to one another, but there’s an almost intimate relation between the three that comes to form the very centre of this story.
Three reads very much like a puzzle. Neatly divided into three parts, one dedicated to each woman, we can envision the pieces coming together as we read. We learn about Orna first, and how she feels in the wake of her divorce from ex-husband Ronen, and his remarriage to a German woman named Ruth, as she raises their son Eran with very little help from him. She meets Gil on an online dating site for divorced people, and he seems like the perfect person for help her get back on the dating scene. We feel like we know Gil well-enough by the end of her story, but he becomes clearer, less shrouded in mystery, in the second part, which zeroes in on Emilia. She is easily the closest to Gil, in the personal sense, and her proximity to him sheds more light on him and his life, making him a more layered character. Finally, there’s Ella. Ella has the shortest time with Gil, but it’s not the least significant. In the end though, we’re left with a still incomplete image of Gil, and quite a bit feels unsaid as the story closes. It’s semi-heartbreaking, and not quite as satisfying as I would have liked. Although Gil becomes easier to envision throughout the chapters, there is still a shadow keeping parts of him hidden. Despite this misgiving, Three is certainly a great read for fellow lovers of crime and thriller. It’s semi-addictive, once you get into the meat of it, and actually quite difficult to put down. I’d definitely recommend to those that enjoy crime and thriller.